The 360 Filmmakers Challenge inspires the next generation of virtual reality creators by encouraging high school students to produce 360° films that make an impact. This is a story about “Breaking Barriers,” winner of the Complete 360° Award.
“I can do this. It’s just school,” utters the student featured in Breaking Barriers, a film produced by students from Parkville High School in Parkville, Maryland. The student’s inner thoughts are heard aloud as she braces herself for another day of school. Her mind is riddled with thoughts of students approaching her with insults and criticisms, offering a glimpse of what it is like to be a high schooler living with social anxiety.
For Tay, Geneva, and Liam, three of the student filmmakers of Breaking Barriers, this subject hits close to home. Geneva suffers from social anxiety and says she hears these insults during a regular school day.
In light of Geneva’s experience, Tay, Geneva, and Liam wanted their film to offer hope to students facing the same hurdles. “It’s important to tell the story of Breaking Barriers,” Tay and Geneva say. “For one, a number of students suffer from anxiety, specifically social anxiety, so we wanted to inform anyone that can relate that they are not alone and they don’t have to go through it alone.”
As youth filmmakers, it is especially meaningful for them to share this message with their peers. Tay and Geneva say, “It is important for someone [our] age to tell stories through film. Kids will most likely listen to something told by people of their own age rather than someone who is older.” They add, “[Kids] feel like people who are older will not truly understand because they are out of touch with today’s youth.”
By sharing Breaking Barriers and creating more films, they intend to start a larger conversation about these issues. “We definitely want to make another movie,” Tay and Geneva say. “If we can touch people and actually get people talking and sharing this video, there could possibly be less harm when joking around with peers and people everywhere [would know] that they do not have to face this alone.”
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